Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Calibrate the Course

Someone fires a gun into the air. Approximately eight hundred men, women, and children spring to action. Running. Walking. Waddling. The Polar Bear Run, a 5k race, has just begun. Filled with adrenaline, my friends and I take off as well, at what I discover is a way-too-fast-for-me pace. Ordinarily, I start slowly and gently increase speed. But because I don't want to get left behind, I foolishly attempt to match Leigh and Stacey's pace. I run with them until we reach Gin Shop Hill. Gin Shop Hill, not a steep hill, but one that gradually goes upward--almost forever--and then winds around to the right before finally leveling out, poses a significant challenge for me. Not quite half way up the hill, still running hard, my heart rate soars--my lungs burn--my chest hurts. Need more air. Can't make it. Must slow down. I'm unable to sustain the pace; my friends pass me. And that's when I hear the Man and the Boy running along behind me. The hill intimidates the Boy, and he, too, slows down. But his dad has calibrated the course and knows how to handle the situation. The Man: Son, Gin Shop Hill is a tough one. But I've run this course before. I know that you can run it, too. Here's the plan. We'll walk for awhile--you can catch up on your breathing--then we'll run again. Together. That's how we're going to conquer this thing. They do exactly that. Run. Walk. Run. Walk. All the way up that uncompromising hill. As we cross Autauga Creek, I see them. They alternate between running and walking. The dad adjusts his pace to his son's. He speaks encouraging words. The Man: You're doing so good! I'm proud of you. You're really hanging in here with me. I'm thinking: Wow, what a daddy! I know that this dad can easily blow past both the Boy and me and finish the race in record-breaking time. But he doesn't. He shows compassion for his son. Turning right on Washington Street, our home stretch, they catch up with me again. My legs feel weak. I'm tired. I want to give up. The Boy must have felt the same way. He stumbles. The Man: Son, don't stop now. We're almost there. I hope Mama and Sister have the camera ready--they're not going to be expecting us to cross the finish line this early. The Boy: But Dad--I'm tired. Can we walk? The Dad: No, Son! Not now. Look, there's the finish line. See! We've almost made it. Come on! You can do this. Let's crank it up! Are you ready? The Boy: No, Sir. I hear the desperation in the Boy's voice. He's torn between disappointing his dad and wanting to give up. The dad expresses confidence in his son. The Man: Son! I know you can do this! Almost there! Let's rev it up a knotch! Are you ready? The Boy: Yes, Sir! With an amazing burst of speed--they charge ahead--crossing the finish line together! I almost feel jealous of the relationship between this father and child. I start wishing that I had a father like that. One who would guide me, have compassion for me, and have confidence in me. Then my loving, heavenly Father reminds me that I do have a Father like that. He Himself is that kind of Father. He calibrates the course for me. Shows compassion toward me every day. Expresses his confidence in me. Do you long to have someone to come along beside you the way that dad walked and ran beside his son? Calibrating the course for you. Showing compassion to you. Believing in you. There's good news: The heavenly Father wants to walk and run together with you. Even when life seems to be nothing more than a rat race. Hundreds of years ago, the writer of Lamentations also experienced the Father's unfailing mercy and unending love. Through the LORD's mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness (Lamentations3:32). I hope that you are experiencing the Lord's tender mercies. His compassion. His faithfulness. Allow God the Father to calibrate your course. Acknowledge His compassion. Accept His confidence in you. He's our Abba. Our Daddy. Let's thank Him. Let's worship Him! Sweet Dreams, Deb

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